It’s hard to get bored in Melbourne. Whether it’s a comedy festival or a cultural festival, the Formula 1 or the AFL, there is always something happening to suit everybody’s tastes. But sometimes city life can get a bit much, even for a suburban dweller such as myself, and you just need to get away from it all. Luckily the rest of Victoria also has no shortage of things to do, and with some of the most stunning scenery in Australia within driving distance of the CBD, it’s easy enough to escape whenever the mood strikes. So I decided to spend this weekend exploring a couple of mountain ranges, starting with the Dandenongs before moving on to bigger and more impressive things in the Grampians.
The Dandenong Mountain Ranges are only a stones throw away from Melbourne and can be reached in about 40 minutes by car. While there are a few things to see there, including the Sherbrooke Falls and the infamous Puffing Billy steam train, we decided to tackle the 1,000 Steps. Part of the Kokoda Track Memorial Walk, the 1,000 Steps are just that. Ascending Mount Dandenong, the steps lead to the summit at One Tree Hill. I was expecting this to be a pretty gruelling climb and admittedly was a little disappointed with how easy it was, although with all the spiders we saw along the way it was a bit of a relief to reach the top! The top of the Steps doesn’t offer fantastic views, so to see back over the city you need to head higher up Mount Dandenong. But with so much else to explore in these mountains, and being so close to the city, it’s definitely worth at least one visit and taking some time to explore.
The Grampians form the most Southern part of the Great Dividing Range which extends over 3,500km almost the entire length of Australia. 260km West of Melbourne, it is a bit of a drive to get there but it’s definitely worth it. With only one day you are a bit pressed for time so we only managed to stop at some of the more famous sights around Halls Gap, including Mackenzie Falls, Reeds Lookout and Silverband Falls. Hopefully I’ll be able to go back and explore a bit more, and I hear camping in the Grampians is an amazing experience. But for now I’ve satisfied my longing for a bit of nature and am looking forward to spending next weekend in Sydney!